When you’re walking along and out of nowhere, an image flashes through your mind like a bolt of lightning. It’s a wonderful moment. Almost an epiphany. You see a character, perhaps a freeze frame of an image where you can’t make it out exactly, but you have an idea of what’s going. Those moments are rare and precious to any writer. It’s a Eureka moment when you wonder to yourself ‘how have I not thought of this before, it’s so blessedly perfect.’ That’s because it is. And when these ideas come, or inspiration or whatever word you feel comfortable using, you have to act immediately if possible.
These ideas are often said to be just like a dream upon waking. Not a bad analogy, but this one suits me better. Ideas are like nuggets of gold. You can be walking the river when BAM! the bright sparkle of the gold nugget catches your eye through the clear water. If you don’t act straight away, the water might wash the nugget away; perhaps it might rain and the river will become dark or muddy with the heaving water. You’ll know where the nugget is, but try as you might, you won’t be able to find it. Oh, you’ll remember the moment you spied it. It’s luminosity, it’s sharpness of colour, even it’s shape. But the thing that makes the nugget real, will be forever from your grasp.
Writers, when the idea comes. ACT! Or you may lose her forever.